I am not referring to Deoxyribonucleic acid, present in all of us and essential for all known forms of life. I am not a scientist! But, I am a passionate athlete and someone determined to find the best that sports has to offer. So, what is my definition of DNA? Distinct Necessities in Athletics
Lets look at the key and vital elements SFUA will include when testing all athletes participating in Search For the Ultimate Athlete:
Fast-twitch muscle fibers are crucial for explosive performance and fast reflexes. Speed can be developed through a muscle building program and sprint workouts. These muscle fibers are essential for short bursts of strength and speed in football, boxing, martial arts, gymnastic, hockey, swimming, track & field, etc.
Slow-twitch muscle fibers are regarded as endurance fibers, necessary to perform in disciplines over a long period of time. Mid-distance and long distance running or cycling, soccer, cross-country skiing, skating or any discipline requiring performance for a long period of time.
*Many disciplines or sports require both types of muscle fibers, since many combine anaerobic and aerobic elements during participation. Soccer, basketball and water polo, are good examples.
Strongman type competitions used to define shear strength and were used to test competitors in various ways: dynamic test of strength and also pure static strength. In today’s athletic world, strength has taken on a new meaning. We see it in free-climbing, cross-fit competitions, MMA and in traditional sports such as football, rugby, etc.
Agility is an essential and possibly the most important component for overall athletic domination, especially in multi-sport events. It combines so many critical elements necessary to perform at a higher level, allowing the body to move and change direction using: Coordination – Balance – Speed – Endurance – Reflexes – Strength. Sports like gymnastics, martial arts, tennis, figure skating, parkour and skateboarding require a tremendous amount of agility in addition to basic skills for each discipline.
Precision sports vary a lot, ranging from target shooting, soccer, golf, basketball, tennis, baseball, to skydiving, curling or bowling. Accuracy is not to be undermined in sports when evaluating athletic skills requiring overall fitness and mental toughness.
Maximal oxygen uptake is one of the best measurements to determine cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance, and is necessary to perform at a high level of intensity in most sports. Female elite athletes have been evaluated with higher VO2 max values than most men.
Athletic talent or natural ability is a must to succeed in sports, but I’m talking about being able to understand and perform the actual mechanics and techniques linked to not only a few sports, but to a multitude of sports in SFUA.
Sports have evolved, so has the environment where they are being played. Emerging, action and extreme sports are now defying all rules and are pushing boundaries to a new level. Today, athletes have to be tested physically and mentally, and be pushed way beyond their comfort zone….if they want to be the Ultimate Athlete.
Teamwork is necessary in just about any sport, regardless if the sport is considered an individual or a team discipline. Cooperating with others is essential to succeed in sports, whether it is relying on your teammates, your coach, your training partner or sometimes even your opponents. Cycling and marathon running are good examples of strategic alliances during a race.
Competition in sports is a constant psychological battle. If not managed properly, it can accelerate physical energy depletion. Concentration, visualization, relaxation and confidence, known as mental strategy, will lead to overall performance improvement.
Problem-solving skills and innovation when competing or just while participating in sports are a huge advantage to any athlete. Combined with mental alertness, it allows a competitor to make the necessary adjustment and potentially change an average performance into a winning result.
Fairness, respect, fellowship and ethics should always be an integral part of sports. Winning at all costs sends the wrong message. Doing the right thing, even if it means sacrificing a victory is part of being an Ultimate Athlete. During the multi-sport SFUA competition, doing the right thing will inevitably occur, but it is unlikely it will change the outcome of the competition…because the best of the best will prevail!